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What Causes Your Dog to Suffer from Poor-Quality Sleep (and What to Do About It)

What Causes Your Dog to Suffer from Poor-Quality Sleep (and What to Do About It)

 

You might observe your dog sleeping at all hours of the day in random places throughout your home, but that doesn’t mean that your fur baby is getting the quality sleep they need for optimal brain development, immune system strength, and other vital functions.

Sleep is essential, and if your dog isn’t getting quality snooze time, there could be multiple factors at play, including:

 

Anxiety

Whether it’s from being separated from the pack (that’s you) for hours per day or adjusting to new surroundings, dogs can feel anxiety the same way that we do.


Identifying the cause of your pup’s distress and taking steps to resolve the situation is the best thing you can do for your dog’s quality of life. The second best thing you can do is get an anti-anxiety dog bed that allows your dog to feel safe and secure.

NurtureBed is the world’s first scientifically proven anti-anxiety dog bed. It combines soft, faux fur that mimics mom’s coat and a supportive donut rim that causes your dog to feel hugged and supported. This bed is so comfortable, you might want one for yourself.

 

Pent-up Energy

Different breeds of dogs have varying energy levels, and it’s vital that you understand your dog’s requirements. A dog that doesn’t get enough playtime and human interaction will be restless at night and have a difficult time settling down. 

There are a lot of misconceptions about whether dogs are not nocturnal. The truth is that they are social sleepers, meaning they take cues on when to sleep based on the habits of their pack.1 However, for the sleep reflex to kick in your dog has to be tired from the activities of the day. A dog that lies around at home or in a crate for hours on end is not getting the enrichment needed to warrant restful sleep at night.

If you do have to leave your dog at home for long periods, make sure you have someone to look in on your pup and take them for regular walks. Consider doggy daycare options, too. 

When you come home from a long day, resist the urge to plop down on the couch if you know your dog has been home alone. It’s unfair to confine your dog to a small space and then expect them to behave like a couch potato when you come home. Just like humans need exercise, so does your pup!

 

Age

Dogs tend to sleep more as they get older, so you don’t necessarily need to be concerned if your dog goes from sleeping 10 hours a day to 14 hours a day as he approached his senior years.2

What you should be aware of, however, is that age-related conditions can make sleep more difficult and less restful for a senior dog. One of the most common culprits will be chronic pain from joint conditions. 

Consider a checkup with your veterinarian to see if your dog is experiencing stiffness or discomfort. Your vet may recommend glucosamine supplements, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), massage, acupuncture, or regular visits to the chiropractor. 

Looking for an animal chiropractor near you? Check out this directory from Animal Chiropractic.

Find an animal chiropractor.

 

Injuries

If you’ve ever had an injury - like a broken bone or muscle soreness from overexertion at the gym - you already know that it can make sleep more challenging. If your pup is injured, he may have a hard time sleeping, too! Again, a visit to the vet can help identify or rule out anything that’s affecting your dog’s ability to catch some z’s.

  

Health Conditions and Sleep Disorders

Did you know that dogs can suffer from sleep disorders? According to PetMD, four different sleep disorders have been observed in dogs:

  1. Sleep Apnea
  2. Insomnia
  3. Narcolepsy
  4. REM Behavior Disorder3

Though the presence of these conditions in canines may surprise you, the origin is less shocking. When a dog suffers from specific health conditions, it can affect their sleep and eventually lead to a disorder.

Common health conditions that contribute to sleep disorders include:

  • Genetic disorders
  • Kidney disease
  • Diabetes
  • Cognitive dysfunction
  • Obesity
  • Abnormal respiratory anatomy

Because these conditions are so varied and some of the causes can be potentially life-threatening, we highly recommend a visit to the vet. Your veterinarian could diagnose a serious illness or may make a recommendation for a diet change or the addition of an omega-3 supplement or a calming aid like CBD.

 

Lifestyle Changes

Dogs are creatures of habit, so if you adjust anything about their routine, you can expect a period of adjustment. This includes: 

  • Taking your dog on vacation (or leaving him somewhere when you go out of town)
  • Adopting a new dog
  • Moving house
  • Having a child 
  • A child moving out
  • Getting another pet
  • Changing his diet
  • Increasing (or decreasing exercise)
  • Shifting weather patterns. 

Here, the most important thing you can do is be aware that your dog is perceiving changes and do your best to ensure a smooth transition or adjustment. This process is highly individualized, but a few pieces of time-tested advice can help:

  1. Minimize alone time. Dogs are pack animals and get stressed out when they’re by themselves. Even dogs that do well alone would always prefer to be with their pack. It’s important to recognize this as a dog owner and take steps to ensure your dog has company at regular intervals.

  2. Create a safe space. Like most humans, dogs prefer to have a sanctuary that they can call their own and retreat to during stressful times. A crate with comfortable padding (we recommend a NurtureBed) and a favorite toy can serve as a “bedroom” for your pet and allow them a place to decompress and catch up on sleep away from the hustle and bustle of your home. Allow the area to be dark and quiet at night so that your dog can be at peace.

  3. Be observant of what triggers your dog. If your dog is a puppy or you’ve recently adopted, you won’t have a baseline yet, but you can begin to note patterns of behavior and determine your new pup’s preferences as well as his insecurities. 

Contacting a professional dog trainer can help you get additional insights into what you can do to make your dog as comfortable as possible. Many dog trainers can meet with you online or over the phone.

Your Dog Deserves Great Sleep!

Here at NurtureBed, we believe that dogs should enjoy the best night of sleep possible - every single night. That’s why we created a scientifically-proven bed that helps reduce anxiety in dogs and maximizes their restful sleep. Give NurtureBed a try (we have a money back guarantee and lifetime warranty option), and don’t be surprised if you find yourself snuggling into the bed when your pooch isn’t using it!


 

Sources:

  1. https://www.foundanimals.org/how-many-hours-a-day-do-dogs-sleep-and-other-dog-sleep-questions-answered/
  2. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/animals-and-sleep/how-much-do-dogs-sleep
  3. https://www.petmd.com/dog/general-health/4-sleep-disorders-dogs

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